Use of Bleaching Treatments in Paper Conservation

The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works
in partnership with Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
presents a “Master Studies” Workshop
May 11-15, 2009

Instructors:  Julie Biggs and Renate Mesmer
At the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California 
Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, 100 34th Avenue
Monday, May 11 through Friday, May 15, 2009, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Course Fee: $600 AIC members; $800 non-members
Enrollment Limit: 12
Registration Deadline: April 3, 2009

This program is designed for mid-career conservators.  Participants may be selected based on order of receipt of registration, training, experience, balance of institutional and private practice conservators, number of registrants from a single organization, and geography.  Preference will be given to AIC Professional Associate and Fellow members.  Early registration is advised.

Workshop Description
A variety of different bleaching methods can be used to treat discolored and stained paper. There are cases where bleaching may be the only way to achieve an acceptable degree of legibility or visibility of an artifact, or to restore an artist’s vision of a work on paper without the distraction of disfiguring stains and discoloration.

In this workshop conservators will learn a variety of historical and contemporary bleaching methods and their appropriate uses: light bleaching, hydrogen peroxide, calcium hypochlorite, sodium borohydride, and borane tert-butylamine complex. These methods will be reviewed in the context of existing and current conservation theory, ethics, and practices.  The course will focus on practical applications of different bleaching techniques and other non-bleaching options for stain reduction—both localized and overall treatments.  Participants will perform, compare, and evaluate the techniques.

This course was offered very successfully at the Centro del Bel Libro in Ascona, Switzerland in 2004 and 2006, and by FAIC in Omaha, Nebraska in 2007.

Participants are encouraged to bring sample materials to test the various techniques during the workshop sessions.

About the Instructors
Julie Biggs is currently Senior Paper Conservator at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.  Previously she worked in private practice and was Senior Paper Conservator at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She has taught numerous workshops in the U.S. and in Europe.  

Renate Mesmer, Assistant Head of Conservation at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, was born and trained in Germany.  She was Director of the Book and Paper Conservation Program at the Centro del Bel Libro, Ascona in Switzerland and Head of Conservation for the Speyer State Archives in Germany.

About San Francisco
More information about the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco can be found at  General information about airports, transportation, and events in San Francisco can be found at  A limited number of rooms are available within walking distance of the workshop location at approximately $120 per night.

This program is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Additional funding comes from the FAIC Endowment for Professional Development,
which is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
and by contributions from  members and friends of the
American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works.

Without this funding, the registration fee for this workshop would be approximately $1200.00

Special thanks to Debra Evans and FAMSF

SACI Florence